European Journal of Communication, vol. 34/6, 2019, 629-640
Abstract: Taking as a starting point studies on the biopolitics of bordering, as well as media studies, this article explores how information campaigns deter potential migrants and refugees from leaving their countries depict them in very specific ways, operating as ‘new bordering practices’ that are in conjunction with extraterritorial border policies.
This article probes this question through the example of a specific information campaign – Aware Migrants (2016) – funded by the Italian Government and managed by International Organization for Migration (IOM) to dissuade potential newcomers from attempting the journey across the Mediterranean Sea.
As the analysis of Aware Migrants makes clear, it contributes to normalizing a transnational imaginary into a militarized borderscape comprising places of violence and death, exploitation and detention, which is part of the complex dichotomies of care and control, proper of contemporary border regimes. Finally, the article sheds light on how these symbolic bordering practices contribute to nurturing a ‘compassionate repression’ that increasingly and silently legitimizes the difference between the ‘us’ (the figure of the citizen) and the ‘them’ (the figure of the foreigner).